Healthcare Resources for Anti-Violence Workers

Sexual assault can have serious short and long-term health impacts on survivors including mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual effects.

Survivors may choose not to seek medical care because they don’t:

  • Have any visible physical injuries.
  • Remember what happened – for example, as a result of trauma or drug-facilitated sexual assault.
  • Recognize that their symptoms indicate the need for emergency care.


Survivors may avoid accessing health services because the healthcare environment and medical procedures can be triggering. For example, a pelvic exam may make a survivor feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

Survivors should consider getting medical care for their health and well-being as soon as possible. Accessing healthcare can connect survivors to support services and get access to testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy, preventative treatments, and forensic sample collection which are all time sensitive.

Early treatment may help to reduce the risk of long-term health impacts such as depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Buchanan, 2023).

Access the links below for more information on survivor healthcare resources and how to support survivors.

Medical Care

Survivors can access a range of healthcare services after a sexual assault including:

  • Assessment and treatment of physical injuries.
  • Testing and preventative treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and pregnancy.
  • Mental health support.

 

Specialized Sexual Assault Healthcare

Some hospitals and sexual assault centres/clinics have a team of clinicians that have specialized training in trauma-informed medical and forensic care.

Mental Health Support

Access this link for information on emotional support and counselling services, substance use support, and crisis and mental health resources.

Follow-Up Care

Proactive follow-up care is essential to address the potential negative long-term impacts of sexual assault.

Advocacy

Follow this link for resources on survivor rights and consent, survivor confidentiality, medical care and forensic exam options, and survivor support strategies and resources.

Questions? Contact our Community Coordination for Survivor Safety (CCSS) team at ccss@endingviolence.org.